|The wall, from base camp|
|Dave kicking steps to the base of the wall|
Once we had the first four pitches fixed, Dave decided to spend a day working some moves on the lower pitches whilst I offered to go aid soloing above to get our fixed ropes higher. I've always been fascinated with the idea of rope soloing. The whole face was enveloped in cloud that day, it felt wild to be up high on the wall, in my own little bubble of visibility inside the swirling clouds. Aiding pitch 7 I was required to do a pendulum 4m to my right to switch crack systems. I puzzled about how we would free climb this part. I spotted a jug miles out to my right, "I wonder if it would be possible to just jump to that?" I thought...
|rope solo fun-times|
Disko 2000 shares the first two pitches with an existing free route called Arctandria. Pitch two gets 8a+, the crux of Arctandria. 40m of perfect clean corner with a thin crack in the back. The crack is so thin in sections that it has to be aid climbed using very thin beaks. We left a few of these in as protection when free climbing, I didn't like the idea of testing them. My first work session on this pitch was dispiriting. There was body-length of climbing that I just couldn't figure out. It seemed to either require crimping on impossibly small edges or standing on impossibly blank smears. I went down to camp disheartened. It then rained for four days straight, sat in the tent for hours upon hours I did not rate my chances of climbing that corner!
When the rain finally stopped I went back up for another play. I found a way of doing the move, which involved a crazy "crucifix" style palm out behind me, followed by a desperate "windmill" move to snatch a fingerlock. It was on. The next day we waited anxiously for conditions, heading up to climb late in the evening. It felt dreamlike as I climbed smoothly up to the precarious rest stood on a sloping shelf below the crux. I expected to fall. I felt my left hand opening on the crimp in the crack. I thought I was off right up until the moment I found myself holding the fingerlock at the end of the crux. For sure one of my best climbing performances to date. Brilliant. Dave climbed the pitch in the Polar twilight shortly after me. We were getting it done!
|The crux of pitch 2|
The next day we tried the other 4 of the first 5 pitches. Dave pulled out a smooth send of pitch 4, another amazing 8a+ pitch. This one climbing in and around multiple roofs on crimps. It was particularly impressive since it happened to be pouring with rain at the time. I was getting soaked at the belay, but the pitch was staying dry! I wasn't able to do one of the moves on this pitch. I would have loved to be able to climb it, in fact, it may have inspired me to do some fingerboarding!
|Dave on pitch 4|
The other highlight of the day was pitch 5, the "Kalk & Gummi" roof as it was dubbed by the first aid ascentionists. It's for sure one of the most eye-catching pitches on the route. A 45 degree overhanging finger crack, with some wild crux moves to catch a jug on the lip. The problem was that the crack seemed to be permanently soaked in a thick black slime. Amazingly it became apparent that the finger-locks were so bomber you could use them even in the wet. We took it in turns having goes at leading the pitch, making a paste of chalk and slime, which turned out to be slightly more sticky that just slime! Water was running down my arms as I pulled between locks. Catching the jug on the lip and cutting loose has to be one of the most heroic positions I've ever found myself in! If I was to design a free climb I couldn't ask for a more perfectly positioned hold.
|Dave on the lip of the Kalk & Gummi roof|
|Incredible climbing after the dyno on pitch 7|
|Summit! In the pouring rain|
|Topo of Disko 2000 free route|